Two wildfires that grew quickly in Colorado this week have already claimed hundreds of homes. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes due to the fires currently burning through the Front Range. In Superior, Colorado alone, Sheriff Joe Pelle thinks that around 580 homes have been lost. Additionally, a shopping center and a hotel have been engulfed by the fire. At least six people have been injured so far. Superior and Louisville have both been evacuated. Hospitals in the area are having to send their patients elsewhere.
“Historic” high winds have contributed to how quickly the wildfires are moving. Winds are hovering around 80-100 mph, with gusts of up to 115 mph. Flames have been traveling the length of a football field in mere seconds. Sheriff Pelle stated that the Marshall Fire has burned through 1,600 acres in Superior and Louisville already. The other fire, the Middle Fork Fire, was quickly attacked by firefighters and “laid down.” Of course, the Middle Fork Fire is still being closely monitored by officials.
So far, there have been no reports of missing people or casualties. Again, six people have been injured so far – one of them, a police officer who suffered minor eye damage from some debris. “I’d like to emphasize that due to the magnitude of this fire, the intensity of this fire and its presence in such a heavily populated area, we would not be surprised if there are injuries or fatalities,” Sheriff Pelle said.
Gov. Jared Polis Declares State of Emergency Due to Wildfires
A state of emergency has been declared for the fast-moving wildfires. At least 13,000 people have been evacuated so far. Unfortunately, because the fires are moving so fast, there’s not much time to prepare to leave. “Very little time to get out, very little time to even get the most important parts of your life and, yes, it’ll be a difficult process for Colorado families who are directly affected to rebuild their lives,” Gov. Polis said.
The National Weather Service has also issued alerts for the wildfires. They are urging people in the Boulder area to evacuate. Cars have been seen driving the wrong way down the interstate just to escape the flames.
The winds are making it hard to control the Marshall Fire. Because of this, large parts of it have been left unattended so far. There’s not much that officials can do at this point. For a while, there wasn’t even any aircraft support for the fire because of the winds. Gov. Polis tweeted, “Prayers for thousands of families evacuating from the fires in Superior and Boulder County. Fast winds are spreading flames quickly and all aircraft are grounded.”
Hopefully, the wildfires can be contained by a combination of aerial support and snow. Weather reports are expecting to see some snowfall that will hopefully combat the very long dry spell that Colorado has had this year.